Battle of the Somms!!

I totally admire Sommeliers. I mean like for real. To be able to select wine for different palates, to pair with different foods, at different price points, from different regions, AND they can speak to each one at any given time?? Yeah, that’s kinda dope. So to hear about a Somm Showdown for the International Wine & Food Festival, I had to be in attendance!

The event started with of course, a wine tasting. My first stop was Tres Sabores. I actually toured this winery last year with the Napa Valley Wine Educators Academy. Julie Johnson gave us the tour of the property, which included a farm, and we ate roasted pig and drank wine. But I digress… I tasted the Sauvignon Blanc, crisp acidity with hints of lime zest and herbs. Very refreshing. Then I had the Charbono from Calder Wine Company. The acidity, and tannins on this one…whoa! But on the second sip I was able to get the berry fruit and cinnamon. Not sure if I’ve had Charbono before, but this one was very nice so I’d definitely try it again. I also tasted the Stag’s Leap Chardonnay, Etude Chardonnay, Early Mountain Petit Manseng, and some Glemorangie Scotch.


Then it was time for the showdown!! The were 7 sommeliers competing from around the DC area.

  • Travis Gray - Equinox
  • Andrew Howells - The Pig
  • John Coco - The Kennedy Center
  • Kate Alexander - Del Frisco Grille
  • Leah Cheston - Ris
  • Will Murck - BLT Steak
  • Brent Kroll - Neighborhood Restaurant Group

The lowdown on the competition was this: blind tasting of 9 red wines, name the grape and the region, first to finish correctly wins. GEESH!! First let me tell you, blind tasting red wines is HARD!!! When tasting them all together, the flavors are so similar. But then to have to do this under pressure as all hundred plus guests were taking pics, talking, wearing perfume, eating food… I’m just glad it wasn’t me up there on display. There wasn’t much to see while they were competing so I went back for more wine and food.

Crabcakes, oysters, mussels, lobster mac ‘n cheese, duck risotto, oh yeah…WINE!!

Once the tasting was over, glasses were pushed aside, Leah Cheston of Ris

emerged as winner of the Somm Showdown. We were able to taste the showdown wines after it was over, I may have gotten a grape correct here or there, LOL. It was a very exciting event that highlighted wine and the people who taste them daily. I was also invited to a wine dinner later in the week as part of the Wine and Food Festival. Guess I’ll drink water tomorrow!